Archive for Friday, June 8, 2007

So far, so good

The foiled plots at Fort Dix and JFK Airport merit praise rather than skepticism.

June 8, 2007


It seems some Americans are peeved, even disappointed, when our homeland security system appears to score a victory, of any kind. Critics are so caught up in rhetoric about civil rights and invasion of privacy that they miss the big picture.

It was not too long ago that officials foiled a plot to invade the military installation at Fort Dix, N.J., kill and injure as many American soldiers as possible and cause tremendous damage to the fort's physical facilities. However they did it, authorities found out about the pending project, made arrests and appeared to have forestalled a tremendous blow by anti-U.S. terrorists.

Just the past week, infiltration of a terrorist cell led to arrests of at least four men who reportedly were planning to ignite fuel lines leading to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York with the goal of destroying people and property near the airport and causing major devastation at the airport itself. One of the alleged plotters said it shaped up as bigger than the 9/11 terrorist strikes in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania and would symbolically slay the late President John Kennedy all over again.

Yet the news of the disrupted plots at New Jersey and JFK had barely been disseminated to the public before some, including Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, were downgrading the achievement as relatively inconsequential. Their contention was that while there may have been some "serious talk" of hitting the fort and the airport area, the real danger was diminished because munitions and equipment had not been sufficiently assembled to create major disasters. Their main concern seemed to be the "rights" of the plotters.

The point is, "it takes only one."

The 9/11 terrorists proved that tragically after their long planning managed to bypass various signals that could have indicated their intent, because too many people in important posts had failed to "connect the dots" on the evidence.

So along come the Fort Dix and JFK planners. Even though they did not have the hardware to do all the damage they hoped, they had the vicious intent and were seeking the support they needed. Instead of being labeled as alarmists, the people involved in thwarting these ventures should be complimented and supported. Their alertness and reaction is commendable.

It does, indeed, take only one aberration to create new tragedy, but we can be grateful to those in the Fort Dix and JFK cases who prevented at least two probable assaults from becoming reality.

Sadly, we have too many who are so busy politicking they choose to overlook this.


Shelby 10 years, 11 months ago

Jet fuel is high-grade kerosene, Dave.

It would go KABLOOEY!!!

DaveR 10 years, 11 months ago

This LJW editorial is blind flag-waving.

Fantasies about torching fuel depots are just that: Fantasies. From time to time, natural gas mains rupture (the San Francisco quake of 1989, for example), and when they do, the gas feeds the resulting fire until the supply is shut off. The fire itself does not go forwards, backwards or sideways down the transmission pipe. The fire stays where it is.

Almost on a daily basis oil pipelines are bombed in Iraq. Oil is flammable, but the resulting fires do not spread along the pipeline itself. If they did, the entire Iraqi oil infrastructure would have been destroyed long ago.

Just as it was not when Saddam torched a hundred individual wells at the end of the first Gulf War in 1991.


Do I make my point clear?

trent00 10 years, 11 months ago

In the history of modern steel architecture only three buildings have ever fallen due to fire, WTC1, WTC2, & WTC7. All three buildings came down on the same day at free fall speed. Coincidence or Conspiracy? Stop relying on the corporate media for information and do your own research.

I suggest starting here:

DaveR 10 years, 11 months ago

Fuel is fuel. It would go kablooey if it had air to ignite it. Gasoline is far more volatile. From time to time there are fires at gas stations. Whole cars get torched. But never, to my knowledge, has any of these fires fed back to the underground storage tanks. Because if they did, there would be a big hole in the ground where the tank used to be.

How big is the main tank at the local Super? Well, let's see. Let's say, 8 pumps that each see, say 10 cars an hour, over, maybe, a 10 hour day, and that each driver gets 10 gallons. Let's further speculate that tank gets refilled every couple of days. How big is the tank?

That's 80 customers per hour, which is 800 a day, which is 8000 gallons in a day, or 16,000 gallons between fillings. I don't know the size of a fuel tanker in gallons, but trucks like them used to run 25-30 tons of payload.

Gasoline is far more flammable than kerosene. If I were you, I'd be worried the next time I filled up.

The idea that anyone could hack into a jet fuel storage tank, or tap into a pipeline that fed it, and create more than a passing item on the 6 o'clock news ("flames could be seen for miles!"), is sheer nonsense.

Back six years ago there was a rumor that terrorists would rent a second floor corner apartment, fill it full of ammonium nitrate fertilizer (tons & tons) & then set it off. Not only destroying the building, but wiping out everything else in a 100 yard radius. That's a real threat. That could actually happen. But, in actuality, even in the worst, bombed-out slums, social cohesion - the neighborhood network - is more than strong enough to prevent any such event.

This is monsters under the bed rubbish.

DaveR 10 years, 11 months ago

As a PS: When asked, New York's Mayor Bloomberg, the guy who would be left holding the bag if the JFK plot actually happened, told people to grow up & get a life. He should either be removed from office forthwith, or be praised for having brains.

gogoplata 10 years, 11 months ago

"Those who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security deserve neither liberty nor security." -Ben Franklin

maxcrabb 10 years, 11 months ago

Did anyone else see KC reporters call the JFK plot "bigger than september 11th!".

Living in fear.

Oracle_of_Rhode 10 years, 11 months ago

I agree with Edwards that the so-called "War on Terror" is really directed at suppressing political dissent and winning elections with fear mongering. This editorial helps those causes. But I remain UNAFRAID. Thanks anyway.

gogoplata 10 years, 11 months ago

Good Job Tater. How did he ever do it with out having specialized military/police spec ops training?

day 10 years, 11 months ago

When a pipeline is ruptured the control center sees the decrease in pressure caused by the leak. The next valve "upstream" is then closed. You then have a huge (but localized) fire until all of the fuel between the leak and the upstream valve is expended. The pressurized fuel in the pipe is not oxygenated. As such it is no more flamable then water, until it mixes with air at the rupture point in the pipe.

Fears of the fire working its way up or down the pipe are just silly. However, the poor reporting of the issue is caused by poor education, of both the reporters and the average American, not "fear mongering".

day 10 years, 11 months ago

The real "damage" from this plot would have been economic. They probably could have managed to destroy the storage tanks at the airport. That would have shut down one of the most important airports in the world for at least several days. The impact of that closure would be far greater then the physical damage caused by the fire. Very few reports have touched on this issue. The reporters have missed the point entirely

ropadope 10 years, 11 months ago

"...caught up in rhetoric about civil rights and invasion of privacy..."?! good lapdog! sit! rollover! now play dead! good boy!

DBAWalt 10 years, 11 months ago

My objection to the whole thing is that it stinks of a useless governmental agency touting minor achievements as major to make themselves look good. I.e., PR, propaganda., or politics. No matter which it is, it is not the truth - the truth does not need all that spin.

If the DHS was actually finding these terrorist cells and managing to infiltrate them, they would be justified in pointing at their accomplishments with pride.

Instead, they are claiming to have found a terrorist plot when they actually were handed the "plot" by a member of the public.

They are claiming to have prevented massive and major damage when the science does not support their claim.

I want truth (not lies) from my government. Unfortunately lies is all I seem to get from both the Democrats and Republicans

I want politics not based on lies - or maybe that is an oxymoron!

Crossfire 10 years, 11 months ago

ootrent oomoron Coincidence or Conspiracy? Are you kidding? Steel buildings collapse every day due to fire.

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